GLENDALE, Ariz. — When Taylor Swift says she’s going to stage the eras of her career, believe her.
Not since the heaviest days of Bruce Springsteen and his legendary live gigs has a mainstream artist packed so much music into one show. Friday night at State Farm Stadium near Phoenix, Swift kicked off The Eras Tour with a staggering 44 songs presented over a span of three hours and 15 minutes.
But more than just a roll call of her ubiquitous hit singles and fan-adored albums, Swift’s show is as ambitious as a Broadway musical. Lots of moving sets, squads of dancers and backing vocalists, a quick-change costume parade, confetti, pyro, synchronized flashing wristbands, and a gorgeous curved video screen to cover her ever-smiling face to those in the furthest rafters complemented his songs, while his multi-faceted band perched discreetly on a corner of the stage.
True to its title, The Eras Tour has indeed covered every facet of Swift’s career, from a low-key rendition of her 2006 debut single, “Tim McGraw,” to the closing “Karma” from her current album “Midnights. “. (Only her 2010 album “Speak Now” received a single performance, the lovely “Enchanted.”)
Swift commented at the start of the concert that she knew her fans – around 70,000 of them that night – had gone to “tremendous effort” to attend the show, and through her singing, dancing, storytelling, sweating and strutting both the main stage and the long catwalk, she rewarded them mightily.
The Eras Tour covers the country for a further 51 dates through August, including a second round in Glendale on Saturday. As brave as Swift is at 33, it’s a grueling spectacle that will require massive stamina for the next five months.
But if any artist can achieve the level of perfection she demands of herself, it’s Swift.
Here are some highlights from Swift’s career overview.
The era of “lovers”
As Lesley Gore’s signature 1963 song, “You Don’t Own Me,” rang out in the stadium, a clock ticked the countdown to indicate the time, as if these Swifty followers needed help. be stimulated.
“Miss Americana & The Heartbreak Prince” served as the opening salvo as Swift, slender in silver sequined boots and a leotard invoking the pastel-colored pattern from her “Lover” album, stood up from under the catwalk on a massive platform that would be a frequent centerpiece throughout the show.
Since Swift never toured behind her 2019 album due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this marked the live debut of “Cruel Summer” and also allowed for a sassy presentation of “The Man” with Swift. donning an oversized sparkly jacket to frolic over a sleek office ensemble and a cool remix of “You Need to Calm Down.”
Her joy at returning to the stage for the first time since 2018 was palpable as Swift absorbed the adulation for a few moments.
“I don’t know how to address how this makes me feel right now,” she said, visibly moved.
The “fearless” era
Swift jumped around in a short gold dress and with a matching guitar, running through a trio of songs from her 2008 release.
A quartet of band members followed her in formation as she walked the catwalk during “You Belong With Me.” She ended the song with her arms slung around her four background singers before launching into a peppy “Love Story.”
The “Always More” Era
A backdrop of trees and a darkly theatrical theme introduced “‘Tis the Damn Season”, another live debut.
In a rust-colored floral dress and forest green cape, Swift sank into a cloud of dry ice for the ethereal “Willow” before walking down the catwalk and twirling around as if inhabited by the spirit of Stevie. Nicks.
But the highlight of the second of the pair of folk-influenced albums Swift has released during the pandemic came with “Champagne Problems,” which she performed while seated on a moss-covered piano. As the emotions of the song intensified, the fervent crowd screamed with every word, sharing in their joyous venom.
The era of “reputation”
From the first glimpse of a snake on video screens, it was obvious Swift would dive next in her polarizing 2017 outing, and she was outfitted in the perfect outfit — a fierce black and red one-legged bodysuit.
These songs have always been laced with attitude, and Swift and her team deftly scolded and flashed sultry looks while stomping on “Ready For It?” Beams of lights circled Swift as she roared during the pop-metal crunch of everything but “Delicate” and a cool display of outfits from across her career – worn by her dancers – paired with the electro-goth show “Look What You “. made me do it.
The “red” era
The scene was framed, appropriately, in a crimson hue as Swift strolled through the carefree vibe of “22” and cast mischievous glances against the thunderous pulse of “Trouble.”
But it was the extended version of “All Too Well,” which Swift said she performed as a thank you to fans, that captivated as the crowd warmly moved the lyrics to the labyrinthine story-song.
The era of “folklore”
Swift selected seven songs from her Grammy-winning 2020 release, peppering her selections including “Invisible String” and “My Tears Ricochet” with pretty simplicity to match her elegantly flowing purple dress.
As her vocals transitioned easily from soft to rugged throughout the show, Swift’s vocals on the captivating “Betty,” with its sing-along chorus, soared as one of her best of the night.
The ‘1989’ era
Perhaps her most perky album, the one named after Swift’s birth year contains a myriad of gems.
The soaring “Style” and undiminished “Blank Space,” with its epic chorus, unfolded in the blink of an eye and a snap of their fingers as dancers wielding Day Glo golf clubs took their best shots on a car (on video).
Hearing the dizzying “Shake it Off” after the thoughtful characterizations of “Folklore” served as an after-dinner sundae.
The era of “midnights”
Swift followed an acoustic segment — which she said she hopes to change with each show — with an aquatic-themed sequence that kicked off with the giddy sentiments of “Lavender Haze” (and yes, she was wearing a lavender ensemble).
Her recent hit, “Anti-Hero,” positioned itself as another addition to her canon that will be heard on tour for years to come, while Swift and her dancers paid homage to Bob Fosse’s “Chicago” with a tight chair routine to accompany ” Vigilant S—.
At the end of the show, as confetti rained down on stage, Swift took her encore with her entire performance team before taking a lap of honor, solo, to express her gratitude to her devotees once again.
Gayle opened the evening at 6:30 p.m. sharp, which delivered a tense set of melodic rockers, including the Grammy-nominated “abcdefu” and a solid cover of Alanis Morissette’s “You Oughta Know.”
Paramore’s pop-punk-rock styles followed just before 7 p.m., with singer Hayley Williams, sporting red ankle boots and constantly swinging hips, hopping around the stage and podium during their nine-song, 40-minute set.
The songs were ubiquitous during “That’s What You Get,” “Misery Business” and came close, “Ain’t It Fun,” while the band also kicked off the swinging ballad – not one of Williams’ favorites, she admitted – “The Only Exception.”